The Helimax Voltage 500 3D is as at
home inverted as it is right side up.
I started with good intentions. I
planned to do the whole first flight
in Stability Mode, and wait until the
second flight before I tried any 3-D
maneuvers. Well, that went right out of
the window after roughly 20 seconds
of hovering. The Voltage is a stable and
forgiving machine in Stability Mode,
and I believe a novice pilot would have
no problem hovering it, but the Voltage
was built for 3-D flying. I found myself
flipping the switch into 3D Mode
almost right away.
In 3D Mode, the Voltage becomes a
power monster. By that I mean it has
monster power! The first full-throttle
punch-out that I did surprised the heck
out of me because the Voltage shot sky-high at a ridiculous rate of speed. After I
got it back down, I tried some flips with
it and found it to be responsive, but not
overly twitchy. Forward and backward
flips, as well as sideways flips, were
performed equally well and had a linear
feeling in flight.
The rudder’s starting and stopping
power was perfect. The Voltage rotated
around its rudder axis and stopped
exactly where I asked it to with no
drifting. After doing several tumbles and
flips, I flew a little racetrack pattern at
high speed and found it to be an agile
machine, regardless of speed.
The lightweight 4S 2,500 mAh LiPo
battery seemed to be the best for all-out
3-D flight, but even with the smaller
capacity I was able to comfortably
make 6-minute flights. The 3,300 mAh
battery gave me more flight time, but
I didn’t notice much of a difference in
weight when flying.
If you are more of a sport flier, you
will get flight times of approximately 7
to 8 minutes, depending on battery size
and how often you use full throttle. It’s
hard to resist pushing that throttle stick
to the max to watch the Voltage scoot
up into the sky.
The transition time when reversing
the motors was short, and it felt like an
old-school collective-pitch helicopter
that required the pilot to manage pitch
during maneuvers. It didn’t take long to
get used to the transition though, and I
was able to hold flips without losing any
altitude. Ramp up the throttle to initiate
the flip, and smoothly pull it back to
negative to hold the Voltage inverted.
I wondered how well the bailout
feature worked, so I took the Voltage up
and popped it into an inverted hover. I
flipped my switch into Stability Mode
and sure enough, the Voltage flipped
itself to a level position. Combining this
flight mode with a momentary switch is
a great way to practice new maneuvers.
For helicopter pilots, it could be
combined with the traditional throttle-hold position. (We instinctively reach
for it when we get into trouble!)
The canopy provides great orientation
cues, and the color scheme shows up
well in the sun. I didn’t have a problem
figuring out which way it was pointing.
I noticed that my Voltage was making
a lot of noise in fast-forward flight
because my gains were set too high.
Using the app on my laptop, I reduced it
a touch and decreased the noise.
The durability of the Voltage is good,
but after a few tumbles and crashes, it
became evident that the carbon-fiber
tubes typically break and the motor
mounts have a tendency to bend when
they contact the ground. You can bend
the motor mounts back with a little
force and quickly be up and flying again.
Quadcopters are great learning tools
for prospective heli pilots, as well as
fun-to-fly aircraft for everyone else.
The control inputs are similar to a
helicopter, and the skills you learn on
the quadcopter will translate to a heli.
You can practice hovering orientation,
inverted flying skills, even pirouetting
maneuvers—all of which can be applied
For those who already fly helicopters
proficiently, it is up to your imagination
to determine how you can fly a 3-D
quadcopter. Do a Google search for
“Alon Barak Voltage 500” to see some
amazing unlimited flying with the
Even if you have no interest in
helis, the Helimax Voltage 500 3D
quadcopter is an awesome aircraft to fly
in both Stability Mode and 3D Mode. It
could be the next step in flying skills for
current multirotor pilots. I don’t think
you could give control of it to any RC
pilot without seeing a smile on his or
66 Model Aviation MAY 2016